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Pan-African Books

Africa is in A Mess: What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done

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Excerpts

Godfrey Mwakikagile, AFRICA IS IN A MESS: SHOULD IT BE RECOLONIZED? ( Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA: National Academic Press, 2003), softcover edition, available only from the publisher.
 
CONTENTS:
 
About the Author
 
Acknowledgment
 
Introduction
 
Chapter One:
Tragic Failure: What Next?
 
Chapter Two:
Western Apologists for Africa's Failure
 
Chapter Three:
Africa's Brain Drain
 
Chapter Four:
African Economic Performance Since the Sixties:
What Went Wrong and What Should Be Done
 
Chapter Five:
Which Way Africa?
 
Index
 
 
Chapter One: Tragic Failure: What Next?
 
RECOLONIZE AFRICA. The idea itself is abhorrent, especially for people who are despised probably more than anybody else in the entire world and who are considered to be intellectually inferior to members of other races, with the backwardness of Africa being cited as compelling evidence of that. And The Bell Curve, a book written by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, in which the authors contend that blacks have lower IQs than whites, Asians and others, with blacks in Africa having the lowest IQs, because of their weak genes, has only "fortified" this incendiary thesis.
 
Yey, the two academics were unable to explain why many blacks, including those in Africa, have higher IQs than millions of whites and members of other races if black people are, indeed, less intelligent than whites and other people. They, thus, inadvertently undermined their thesis although their book has continued to fuel debate about race and intelligence since it was first published in March 1994.
 
Still, the truth about Africa, all the misery and suffering because of bad leadership since independence, is compelling enough to make some people, including many Africans themselves, think the unthinkable: Africa should probably be recolonized to end its misery. Let Europeans, our former colonial masters, come back and rule us again and end all these civil wars and corruption, revive the economy, maintain law and order, and develop Africa. "We have had it with our leaders," is the sentiment articulated and shared by millions across across this beleaguered continent.
 
The call for recolonization is also made by some of the most educated Africans, all of whom cannot be easily dismissed as educated fools, brainwashed and whitewashed by by their former colonial masters. Theirs is a desperate plea for help, shared by their brethren across the continent, to save Africa before it descends into the abyss. Some believe it is already there; hence the designation, "The Lost Continent," a term used by a number of Africans themselves including former UN secretary-general Bhoutros Bhoutros-Ghali from Egypt, as cited by George Ayittey, a Ghanaian professor of economics at The American University in Washington, D.C., in his highly controversial book Africa in Chaos which, together with Keith Richburg's equally inflammatory work, Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, has been described by some people as anti-African.
 
Since independence in the sixties, Africa has performed poorly in most areas because of bad leadership and bad policies, not because of weak genes. Most countries on the continent won independence by 1968. Yet, an entire generation later, they have little to show for all those years they have ruled themselves. No one expects a country to develop in 30 or 40 years. But no one expects it to do nothing either. There is no excuse for the kind of economic retardation that has taken place in most countries across Africa since independence. A generation is not a week. When compared to other parts of the developing world, Africa has performed miserably in every conceivable way. And statistics tell the story, a sad story.
 
In 1965, Nigeria was richer than Indonesia, and Ghana richer than Thailand. Today Indonesia is three times richer than Nigeria, and Thailand five times richer than Ghana. In 1965, Uganda was richer than South Korea. And in 1967, Zambia was also richer than South Korea. Zambia had a per capita income of $200, and South Korea, $120. After thirty years, South Korea's gross domestic product per person was more than $10,000 in 1998, and Zambia's $400. Yet, by African standards, Zambia is considered to be one of the richest countries on the continent in spite of all the misery and suffering, hunger and starvation ravaging this country endowed with abundant minerals and arable land more than enought to feed its entire population.
 
And all African countries combined have a smaller gross domestic product than that of Belgium, a country of only 10 million people, and one of the smallest in the world. By contrast, Africa's population is more than 700 million, on a continent endowed with abundant natural resources. The gross domestic product of African countries is not only smaller but a mere fraction of Belgium's. What is even more depressing is that Indonesia, a developing country which in 1965 was poorer than Nigeria, has a bigger gross domestic product than that of all the black African countries combined. Yet, Indonesia itself was a colony, like the African countries, and won independence roughly around the same time that African countries did during the post-World War II era.
 
It is just as sad, probably even more so, when we look at the dismal performance of black Africa from another perspective....
 
 
From the publisher:
 
"Diagnosis and prescription. What went wrong since independence in the sixties, and what can be done to alleviate misery and suffering on the least developed and poorest continent, yet one endowed with an abundance of natural resources and hundreds of millions of people.
 
The author critically examines the views of many people on the subject, including "recolonization" of the continent (he's resolutely opposed to that) as advocated by some - among them a number of African diplomats and scholars as well as politicians including the prime minister of Sierra Leone in the nineties - and offers innovative solutions to Africa's perennial problems.
 
A hard-hitting book by a former journalist, now an academic author, from Tanzania, the work is written in simple yet captivating prose, without scholarly pretensions or jargon, and is intended for members of the general public as much as it is for those in the academic community. Brutally frank and lucid in argument articulated from a Pan-African perspective." - National Academic Press.